About the Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman:
The Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman opened in May 2011, and is managed and hosted by the National Association of Counsel for Children on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. The Office of Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman (CPO) was established in 2010 by a unanimous vote of both the Colorado House and Senate, through the passage of Senate Bill 10-171. The bill was brought forth to the Governor and Legislature by the Child Welfare Action Committee as a recommendation for systemic improvement to Colorado’s child protection system.
The Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman has power and duty to facilitate a process of independent, impartial review of family and community concern; request independent, accurate information and to conduct case reviews to help resolve child protection issues and overall systemic issues. The Office of the Child Protection Ombudsman will report annually to the Governor, Legislature, and Executive Director of Colorado Department of Human Services regarding systemic issues, data trends, and recommendations for improvements. The Ombudsman’s Office also serves as a resource and “systems navigator” to stakeholders and the general public by assisting in specific cases while also providing ongoing public education and resources to promote the best interest of children and families.
- Receive complaints made by or on behalf of a child when there has been action or inaction on the part of a public agency or provider if it negatively affects the child’s safety, permanency, or well-being. Complaints can be made against agencies and providers that receive public monies. The term agency includes the Department of Youth Corrections.
- Conduct an independent and impartial review of complaints or concerns, and attempt to resolve them.
- Evaluate and make recommendations to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) and any appropriate agency or entity for the creation of a statewide grievance policy that is understandable and easy to use.
- Report at least once a year to CDHS, the Governor, and the Legislature about the work that has been done by OCCPO and to make recommendations about needed changes to child welfare services, including system changes.
Ombudsman power and authority:
- Review issues raised by members of the public relating to child protection procedures and practices and make appropriate recommendations.
- Help educate the public about child abuse and neglect and the role of the public in strengthening families and keeping children safe.
- Make recommendations that will improve the safety of children and promote better outcomes for families and children receiving child protection services.
Ombudsman may not:
- Intervene in any criminal or civil proceeding or in any criminal investigation.
- Respond to any complaint relating to the Judicial Department and judicial proceedings and procedures, including complaints about judges, other judicial officers, and attorneys, as well as judicial determinations. Such complaints must be referred to the Judicial Department.
Who may complain to the Ombudsman?
Anyone may complain, including the following persons:
- Mandatory reporters
- Families or caretakers
- Foster Parents
- Employees of the State and Counties
- Judicial Personnel
- Concerned Persons